‘Putting the patient first’ has been the age-old adage of many a health-related communications campaign. But, for many of these, a picture of someone smiling on a poster or pamphlet often marks both the beginning and end of any real patient centricity.
by Conor Griffin, Partner at BOLDT
While investment and innovation in research and development are essential to the discovery of new treatments and medicines, listening to your end customer – the patient – would seem a sensible thing to do when looking at best ways to treat and care for patients.
Patient centricity is an increasingly popular approach across much of the healthcare sector. Defined as “putting the patient first in an open and sustained engagement of the patient to respectfully and compassionately achieve the best experience and outcome for that person and their family”, patient centricity considers the integral role of patient perspectives in the design and implementation of medicines, healthcare technologies and clinical services. It enshrines important principles for patients such as education / information, co-creation, access and transparency.
Patient centricity has now become recognised as a central and essential aspect of learning across the healthcare industry. It places value on centering a patient’s attitudes, wishes and needs around their own health management in their interactions with an often wide assortment healthcare professionals.
The truth is that we need to ask questions to find answers. The role of the patient is no longer that of a passive recipient of care. So many organisations are now claiming to be patient centric or to “have the patient at the centre of everything we do”. Though, in reality, many organisations, particularly those in science-facing functions, have often been reluctant to engage with patients at an in-depth level until later in their marketing activities, though thankfully this is now changing at pace.
For an organisation to become truly patient centric, meaningful patient engagement should begin at the onset of a research and development programme, not just at the marketing phase. The enlightened few that are doing this well are also involving patients’ perspectives in the development of public policy and the regulatory procedures that impact drug development and delivery. There are also a wide number of initiatives underway across the industry to encourage patient involvement in the design, planning and delivery of health services.